Sophistication: a literary and cultural history
In an era obsessed with celebrity and glamour, sophistication ranks among the most desirable of human qualities, but it was not always so. The word “sophistication” was once a negative term, meaning falsification, speciousness, perversion, or adulteration. Now, it positively glitters, carrying meanings of worldliness and refinement. Through a series of close readings of some of the essential texts of sophistication, Faye Hammill explores the developments in taste and ideology that account for this striking change. At the same time,Sophisticationdemonstrates that traces of older meanings linger—that hints of “sophistry” persist in even our most modern conceptions of the sophisticated.
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